Low Carb vs. High
Low carb diets can be classified as food plans that require keeping carbohydrates as low as 3% and never more than about 25 to 30%. This is much lower than the 50 to 60% recommended by most good scientists and valid research. Low carb diets include programs like Atkins, Protein Power, The Zone, Sugar Busters and the South Beach diet.
As you can see by the chart below, the Ornish and Pritikin diets at 70% and 80% carbs, are definitely high carb. One means used to distract people’s attention away from the fact that the Atkins diet is basically an unhealthy food plan is to compare a “low carb” diet to a “high carb” diet. However, neither one is the best solution.
Although the in-depth research of Dr. Dean Ornish, using his high carb/low fat diet, has uncovered some amazing findings and produced phenomenal results in reversing heart disease, as a weight loss program and regular eating plan, it has some drawbacks. The Ornish diet, as with Pritikin, is proving to be too low in healthy oils from fish, olives, nuts and seeds. Plus, it may also raise triglycerides and lower HDL (good) cholesterol.
This chart shows you carb, fat and protein comparisons:
Carbs Fat Protein
Atkins 3-20% 45-65% 25-35%
South Beach 10-25% 50-70% 20-30%
Healthy 50-60% 20-30% 20-25%
Ornish/Pritikin 70-80% 5-15% 10-15%
Diets at both the top and bottom extremes have their problems. Anyone can lose weight on a diet – fad or otherwise – for a week, a month or even six months. But, for a weight loss program to be truly effective, your diet must become part of your lifestyle and the basis of everyday food choices. Besides health concerns, too many people find both low carb and high carb diets difficult to stick with for a lifetime. Your best bet is to develop a low calorie, healthy eating lifestyle that includes regular moderate exercise.